Bhakti yoga, as the name suggests is a passionate form of yoga involving affection towards God. When history is recalled the origin of Bhakti yoga is believed to be before hatha yogi. The exact origin is not depicted in history, but yoga experts believe it’s origin around since before the fifth century BC. There are nine forms of Bhakti yoga:
- Sravana (hearing about God);
- Kirtana (singing of the glory of God);
- Smarana (remembering God’s name and presence);
- Padasevana (service of God):
- Archana (worship of God);
- Vandana (prostration);
- Dasya (cultivating the Bhava of a servant);
- Sakhya (cultivation of the friend-Bhava);
- Atmanivedana (surrender of the self).
The dictionary meaning of word Karma is action or deed, and the outcome or the resultant. Since childhood we have been taught to do the karma in the manner so that the resultant of the actions is maximum amounts of good and the least amount of evil. Karma yoga is another form of dedication towards God. A combination of our actions with the Divine force is our performance. Karma yoga is incomplete if it does not involve selfless service. The history of karma yoga is believed to be originated before 800 BC, when yoga was inclined towards life disciplines and paths.
Ashtanga yoga started around 5000 years BC, and was began by Vivekanand Needam Yoga Sutra. As the name suggests ashtanga yoga means asht (8) anga or the eight limbs or eight fold path formulated by Vivekanad Needam. While practicing ashtanga yoga one needs to focus and concentrate on each of the eight limbs, which are:
- Yama (principles or moral code);
- Niyama (personal disciplines);
- Asana (ashtanga yoga postures)
- Pranayama (yoga breathing);
- Prayahara (withdrawal of senses);
- Dharana (concentration on objects);
- Dhyan (meditation);
- Samadhi (salvation).
Jnana yoga emphasizes on power of knowledge. While practicing Jnana yoga, one needs to pay attention on the all the seven stages which are study, self-realization, desire, protection of the mind, developing indifference to objects, letting the world appear like a dream, non-attachment to the world, bliss and knowledge of truth.
Quite popular in the western world Hatha yoga is based on the use of different yoga postures or asanas for the benefit of the body physically. Hatha yoga emphasizes on how to prepare the mind for spiritual journey by conditioning the body. As ancient yogis believed that when the body is in good physical condition, then only mind can concentrate better on spiritual matters.
Kundalini yoga emphasizes on Kundalini awakening means stimulation of the energy which is found at the base of the spine is. Kundalini yoga is popular as the most powerful yoga. For performing Kundalini yoga one needs to focus on practicing classic yoga poses. Chanting and meditation are also indispensable part of it. The concentration in Kundalini yoga is on breathe control.
Swara yoga teaches how to control the inhalations and exhalations from the nostrils and how to manipulate the flow of breath for health benefits. The essential part of Swara yoga is to observe the nostril’s breath flow at all times of the day and seasons. Evidences show that Swara yoga has been practiced for over ten thousand years. Initially only high society people, like kings and sadhaks were eligible to practice it.
Raja yoga emphasizes on synchronization of mind and emotions and makes a balance by controlling one’s life force. The meditation style used in Raja Yoga focuses on the Lord. It helps the sadhaka to guide the life force to move up and down the spine, until contentment of mind is acheived. Then awareness is directed to a point in the lower forehead.
The main aim of Kriya yoga is the spiritual growth using meditation techniques that help combining one’s soul with the Divine. The spiritual energy accumulated deep in the spines is guided through meditation. In Kriya yoga the awakening of mind helps drawing the vital energy up and down the spine using mind power.
As the name suggests Mantra yoga means repeat chanting of a word or phrase until the mind and emotions are transcended and the one reaches the stage of super consciousness. Repeating a mantra helps to concentrate the mind meditation and avoids sudden wondering of mind. The mind is then focused better on yoga. Two popular mantras are aum mani padme hum (om the jewel is in the Lotus hum) and asato ma sat gamayo (lead me from the unreal to the real).
By now, you should have got answer to all questions about yoga types.. However, now when the differences in yoga styles are known to you, you may decide what types of yoga are beneficial to you more. Many people practice a number of yoga disciplines, which focus on different aims and techniques. Once you know the yoga types you want to practice, you can search for appropriate yoga teachers or yoga centers. Most types of yoga have practitioners all over the world.